Cricket covered container Replica of Qing Dynasty Xuande Period
Contributed by Marjorie Chu, SEACS Vice-President
One of my favourite ceramic pieces.
In April 2010, I travelled with members of Southeast Asian Ceramic Society Singapore to visit ceramic sites of China and the trip included a visit to Jingdezhan.
This town has been producing porcelain for more than 900 years, and their kilns have fired wares from Yuen, Ming and Qing Dynasties to the present.
We made a stop at the Jingdezhan Jiayang Ceramic Workshop whose kilns now make reproductions of imperial and commercial wares of these early dynasties: wares such as green glaze porcelain, various enamels: famille rose, famille verte, blue and white underglaze and monochrome.
The craftsmen worked on each item carefully, checking measurements and thickness of clay against models placed in front of them, in order to achieve as a close a replica as possible.
In the case of blue and white ware, the craftsmen very daftly painted motif onto the ‘leather dried’ clay, which were then sent to be dipped in porcelain stone ‘slip’ (liquid glaze). Vessels are stacked and assembled for firing at around 1,200 degrees in electric kilns.
I chose to acquire the blue and white underglaze cricket covered container with beautifully rendered phoenix and lotus motif.
I like the shape (drum like), the proportion and the qingbai glaze (as opposed to white) of this vessel. There is even a hint of ‘heap and pile’ iron residual on the colbalt blue, to simulate Islamic colbalt effect!!
Cricket fighting was very popular among royalty and commoners during the Ming and Qing Dynasties.